Timber has been a staple in the construction industry for thousands of years and is now used alongside many other building materials to create the structures we see today. Certain structures have used timber in incredibly complex ways to create breathtaking buildings, engineers have used it to build boats, buildings and much more within the industry.

Timber is often favoured as a material because of the wide variety of properties it holds. It is widely available as well as being extremely strong in relation to its weight, making it great for construction purposes.

However, Voll Arkitekter has taken it one step further by constructing the world’s tallest timber building. Located in Brumunddal, Norway, this incredible structure stands at 85.4m and dominates the surrounding landscape. It has taken the title from the 53m tall Brock Commons Tallwood House in Vancouver, which was a mix of wood and concrete. Additionally, Treet in Bergen, Norway, which stands at 49m high, used to be the tallest all-timber building in Norway until Mjøstårnet.

This interesting tower was constructed using cross-laminated timber, which allows architects to build tall buildings from this type of material. Inside, you will find apartments, a hotel, office space, a swimming pool and a restaurant. With 18 floors, this building stands right next to one of the main attractions in the region, Lake Mjøsa, which is Norway’s largest lake. As such, this building blends perfectly into the surrounding landscape.

Buildings made of timber can present certain challenges, including fire safety and they are more likely to shift under exterior forces as the materials are much lighter. Even Andersen, the fire consultant with Sweco Norge AS said:

“The fire safety measures that have been implemented in Mjøstårnet make the timber building far safer than a corresponding building with a traditional steel and concrete structure. Mjøstårnet is one of the safest buildings along Lake Mjøsa and can withstand even an extensive fire.”

However, this incredible structure was only meant to be 81m high, but in the end, they decided to increase it by 4.4m. Property Developer, Arthur Buchardt of AB Invest said:

“As we’re going to build the world’s tallest timber building in Brumunddal, why not make it as tall as possible?”

The change was made to alter the shape of the beams at the top of the structure from rectangular to round.

“The force of the wind at the top is moderated by the lower part of the building, and there must be agreement between the two,”

“By rounding off the edges of the beams, we managed to reach 85.4 m. This principle is known from flag poles, which are round to reduce wind strength.” Said Rune Abrahamsen who is the Director of Moelven Limtre, which was the company in charge of the build.

This record-breaking building was made possible by technological progress in the use of timber, particularly glued laminated timber, as a structural material and sustainable choice as the world’s only truly renewable building material.

Here at Martin Perry Associates, we can devise solutions that will meet your particular circumstances, where we can balance your personal objectives and financial requests with legislative requirements, site constraints, and the capability of materials involved.

Compared to the cost your overall project, the monetary expense of hiring a structural engineer to make sure your project is done right is small. If after reading this you think you might benefit from a structural engineer in Exeter or the surrounding area, please do get in touch and we will be happy to provide you with our expert knowledge or answer any questions you may have.

Image credit: Peter Fiskerstrand